Colonial America Pathfinder

Created by Miss Patten

Scope Statement

This research will engage students in grades 3 - 5 in inquiry into the topic of education and family life during the Colonial America time period. Many changes in general lifestyles and education have occurred in the last 390 years while some things that have remained the same. By using estimation of sums and difference between numbers, population and miscellaneous statistics can be compared with those of today.

Iowa Core Standards

Grades 3-5

Social Studies:
Understand the effects of geographic factors on historical events.
Throughout time, history and geography have been inter-twined. To fully understand one, there must be a solid foundation of knowledge regarding the other. Geography has provided the context in which history has occurred over time, and therefore has impacted historical events. Including but not limited to:

  1. Identify the impact of geographic systems (physical and human) on historical events.
  2. Trace the major land and water routes of explorers throughout the world.
  3. Identify the role that geography has played during historical events.
  4. Explain how and why a region was settled and developed and compare this early development to the region today

Math (To determine population, etc.):
Develop the ability to estimate the results of computation with whole numbers, fractions or decimals and be able to judge reasonableness.

  1. Be able to estimate sums and differences with whole numbers up to three digits.
  2. Build facility and understand when estimation, mental computation or paper-and-pencil computations are appropriate in a given problem.
  3. Select and apply appropriate strategies (mental computation, number sense and estimation) for estimating products and quotients or determining reasonableness of results, depending on the context and numbers involved.
  4. Make reasonable estimates of fraction and decimal sums and differences.

21st Century Skills:
Each Iowa student will be empowered with the technological knowledge and skills to learn effectively and live productively.
Information Literacy:

Engage in the information literacy process: access, evaluate, and communicate information and ideas.
Access information:

  1. Generate questions to guide the research process.
  2. Narrow a topic.
  3. Locate research materials through print and electronic sources and interviews.
Evaluate information:
  1. Authority
  2. Objectivity
  3. Quality
  4. Coverage
  5. Currency
  6. Relevance
Communicate information and ideas:
  1. Use information accurately, responsibly, and ethically.
  2. Adhere to a consistent format for documentation.
  3. Communicate research findings through a variety of mediums.
  4. Use technology to communicate research findings.

General Encyclopedias

  1. Britannica Online School Edition, Britannica Online 2010 __ On this site you will access general background information specific to the Colonial Period. For successful access you utilize the table of contents within the elementary version --> social studies --> United States Social Studies --> and choose from the topics located in The Colonial Period.
  2. World Book Student Encyclopedia Online (World Book, Inc., Accessed via AEA Online) __ Within this website you will gain information about colonial lifestyle and education specifically noting schooling practices and important dates surrounding colonial education. For successful access you will perform a search using “colonial america.” Select the first article, “Colonial Life in America.”


  1. Merriam-Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language __http://www.merriam-webster.com__ This link will give you direct access to the definition of a colony. Search “colony” for word definition.


  1. Scholastic Atlas of the United States. (Scholastic, 2000) This print resource will show a map of the United States including location of the Thirteen Original Colonies.

Biographical Source

  1. Encyclopedia of World Biography (Gale, Accessed via trial) This resource will provide information about teachers and specific information about Esekiel Cheever, a well known teacher from the Colonial time period. Searches will include, “teacher” and “Cheever, Esekiel.”

Subject Encyclopedia

  1. UXL Encyclopedia of U.S. History (UXL, 2008 YR 973 B) This source will provide additional information about children living in the Colonial time period. Begin search by using key terms, “colonial american and education.” Select the article titled, “Children in Colonial America.”
  2. (ABC-CLIO American History, UNI Rod Library // Data A to Z ) __ This resource will provide a graphic and brief description of the different types of education within the American Colonies. By searching “colonies and education” you will select the article titled, “The American Identity, 1754 - 1776 (Visual).”
  3. The New Book of Knowledge (Scholastic, 2007 YR 030 N)
    By using key words, “Colonial Life” or “Thirteen Colonies” information surrounding family life during the Colonial and general information about this time period can be found.
  4. Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood: In History and Society (Gale, 2003 REF HQ 767.84 .E53) This print source will provide information specifically related to children and their education during the Colonial time period. With access to the index, search, “Colonial America” and find the subtopic, “education.
  5. Scholastic Children's Encyclopedia (Scholastic, 2004,YR 031 S) Information can be found about education during the Colonial America time period. Utilizing the index and searching by key words, “Colonial America” with subtopic, “Education.”


  1. Harness, Cheryl. Three Young Pilgrims, New York : Bradbury Press, 1992.
    This book, illustrated by watercolors, shares the fictional story of three young pilgrims and their family, The Allertons, on their journey to America. Their harsh journey and new life are told with historical details.


  1. Kids Discover; Nov93, Vol. 3 Issue 9, p12, 2p, 8 Color Photographs, 2 Black and White Photographs, 1 Cartoon or Caricature (EBSCO Host Student Research Center) __ Access to this site will give you specific information related to children of the colonial time period and their way of life, including labor and education. To access information search “pilgrims and education and colony.” You will select the article, “Colonial Kids.”


  1. Warchut, K. (2009, August 17). Colonial Life At Jabez Smith House: Outhouse, Yes. Penthouse, No. Day, The (New London, CT), Retrieved from Newspaper Source database. This article describes what students will see while visiting Jabez Smith’s House, a traditional Colonial house, in Groton, Connecticut. Searching, “Colonial Life” will bring you to the article.


  1. 100% Educational Videos. (2003).
    Early Settlers: The Era of Colonization [Full Video]. Available from __http://www.discoveryeducation.com__/ This video gives background information about the beginning of Colonial life and details life in each of the colonies.

Additional Sources

  1. Teacher Librarian! As always, Miss Patten is here to assist you with research along the way. She can help you find new search terms or additional resources. All you need to do is ask!

== || Key Word || Searches || || * Thirteen colonies
|| * Early Settlers || || * Colonial America || * 13 Original Colonies || || * Colonial life || * Colonial Education || || * Early America || * Colonial Jamestown || || * Colonists || * Life in Colonial America || || * Pilgrims || * Colony ||

Dewey Classification

370 Education

379 Public Policy Issues in Education

970 History of North America

974 Northeastern United States